Family Connects is an evidence-based program, rigorously evaluated and implemented across Texas and the United States.
The Family Connects model was developed in Durham, North Carolina and was born out of community need. In 2001, the Duke Endowment approached the director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy and challenged them to improve child outcomes and specifically to reduce childhood maltreatment and neglect in Durham. From that charge, the Durham Connects model was developed and it was piloted in 2008 with the goal of creating a replicable and sustainable model to be used in other communities. Reaching out to families at the birth of a new baby, a vulnerable time for all families, and connecting them with the right resources at the right time allows infants, toddlers, and their families to lay a strong foundation for future growth.
Family Connects is an evidence-based nurse voluntary home visiting program that supports parents and newborns from birth. The program provides between one and three nurse home visits to every family with a newborn at no cost to families beginning at about three weeks of age, regardless of income or demographic risk. Family Connects is community focused, bridging the gap between parents and community resources: registered nurses conduct the home visits, refer parents to community programs, resources, and services based on the family’s specific needs, and follow up with the families to ensure the referrals and community connections were made. The program has been shown to improve family well-being, including reducing emergency medical care for infants and improving parent behavior and childcare selection.
An ongoing, randomized controlled trial of Family Connects published in Pediatrics and the American Journal of Public Health shows the model has positive affects for families in a number of key areas:
Family Connects is being implemented in 13 states. In Texas, the program serves families in Austin/Travis County, Bexar County, Bastrop County, Victoria County, and here in North Texas.
Aiming to reach all families with a newborn, Family Connects creates system change at the population level recognizing that the wellbeing of the parents plays a critical role in laying a positive foundation for their child’s development. Through a partnership with Family Connects International, My Health My Resources of Tarrant County (MHMR), United Way Metropolitan Dallas, Metrocare, and TexProtects are joining together with local hospitals and the community to offer this voluntary, evidence-based, short-term nurse home visiting program aimed at providing physical and mental health screening of both parent and newborn while also ensuring their connection to a medical home and other needed community resources.
Family Connects North Texas is a region wide effort
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